As you read the accounts of the Judges you can’t help but be saddened by what happens when God’s people descend into apathy, compromise the covenant which God gave, and delight in evil. While Judges is one of the saddest portions of Scripture, we should look for how God is behind even the darkest chapters, bringing about the happy endings. Notice that God never leaves His people long in their sins without raising up a judge. It is striking that when God sets about to reform His people He raises up servants who bring judgment. Judgement is one of the ways which God brings a people to cry out for His mercy. The promise in the book of judges is that God would one day send a Judge who would judge His people in righteousness and truth (Ps. 96:13).
While in the English Bible, as well as historically, the story of Ruth is nestled in the time of the judges, the Hebrew Bible arranges things a bit differently. Ruth follows Proverbs, and precedes the Song of Solomon. This produces an interesting rhetorical narrative arc. Proverbs warns against the strange woman, and ends with an admonition to King Lemuel to find a virtuous woman (Pro. 31). The story of Ruth uses this contrast to highlight the faithfulness of Ruth. Ruth is a “stranger” (Ruth 2:10), and thus every good Hebrew boy, Boaz included, should be wary. But at the climax of the story Boaz declares that she is a virtuous woman (Ruth 3:11). In fact, Ruth’s faith in the God of Israel leads her to lay claim to the promises and laws which God afforded a woman in her position: a redeemer to marry her and care for her. Because of her faith and persistence to cling to the God of Israel and His promises, she is joined to the lineage of the Messiah.
As always, when you commit to reading God’s word daily, don’t be surprised if you miss a day or two here or there. Business happens. However, always jump back in. As you read through the dark moments of Scripture, always remember that the brightest part of the story is actually the brightest: when Jesus died for our sins.